Wish You Were Italian (If Only… #2) by Kristin Rae + ARC GiveawayWish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Published by Bloomsbury on May 6, 2014
Pages: 323
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

It’s Summer time and when I’m sitting at my desk in the most air-conditioned city in the country,  I close my eyes and imagine that I’m lounging on the Spanish steps, my face raised towards the Sun, my skin turning as golden as freshly pressed olive oil while pistachio gelato drips off the waffle cone in my hand and down my toasty decolletage… *Snaps out of it* Okay. I’ll continue to my book review before Fabio jumps out of a fountain and offers to clean up my mess…

hotel_rome_spanish_steps

So, yeah…Wish You Were Italian is THE PERFECT ‘get me the hell out of Houston and into an Italian daydream’ kind of book. It’s a fun and light read but does deal with the bittersweet emotions that come with monumentally defying your parents for the first time/stepping out on your own and the loss of a beloved family member.

The main character, Pippa,  was likable and I related to a lot of her internal conflicts about boys, family, and pursuing her dreams. The romance aspect was light-hearted and just a tad risqué (YESSSSSS). The hit-and-miss moments with destiny and the well fleshed out journey of Pippa’s Italian adventure were awesome and created the perfect tension and backdrop. I truly felt like I was swept off my feet by Kristin Rae’s descriptions of iconic Italian landscapes. There’s definitely an “Under the Tuscan Sun” for teens feel to this story which makes it perfect in my book.

Just shy of 330 pages, Wish You Were Italian is a great Summer read and perfect for taking to the beach/pool/backyard/WHEREVER you go to relax and read. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series, but will be adding them to my TBR pile for days when I want to mentally escape with a fun and flirty novel.

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About the Author:

KristinRaeAuthorWYWItalianLover of books, music, movies, crafty things, and chocolate. My young adult contemporary debut WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN is out now, and WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED is coming March 29, 2016 from Bloomsbury! Represented by Marietta Zacker of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency.

Visit Kristin Rae’s Website HERE!

 

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
DNF ARC Review: Take Back The Skies by Lucy SaxonTake Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon
Series: Take Back the Skies #1
Published by Bloomsbury on June 3, 2014
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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 Stars

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

I can only take boredom in small doses. Especially when it comes to reading a book.

I think this is technically my first DNF review. I take pride in finishing even the worst of books and let me state that this book WAS NOT the worst of books. It wasn’t all that bad really, I just COULD NOT get into the story or characters- no matter how many times I put it down and tried to come back to it. I only made it sixty-five percent before finally deciding to move on.

Sometimes it all comes down to timing and mood. Despite the female protagonist turning fifteen half way through the story and the lead male protagonist being seventeen, TBTS felt thoroughly mid-grade to me. The main character’s were very child-like and somewhat two-dimensional.

Because I had to put the book down for periods of time to see if my experience would change when coming back to it, I found that I was not able to develop a clear mental picture of the story world and I had no emotional investment or interest with the characters.

The pacing was slow without any burn even though the stakes were high enough in several situations to make any 12 year-old girl sweat. I’m not really sure if the time period of this book was supposed to be in the future or a re-imagined historical era. I felt like there were steam punk elements mixed with futuristic, Ender’s Game-like elements.

Take Back The Skies was almost like reading Etiquette and Espionage for me, although I enjoyed E&E much better because of an array of very interesting and whimsical characters. Etiquette and Espionage was a great book, I just think I would have enjoyed it more if I had been in junior-high. The same thing goes for TBTS. I just didn’t have the patience to push through this one.

 

 

 Stars
After Eden by Helen DouglasAfter Eden by Helen Douglas
Published by Bloomsbury on November 7, 2013
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

 

 

 

 

 

I have reddish-brown hair and the palest skin that blushes fiercely, all the way from my chest to my forehead.

Eden is our main chick and she shares her name with a couple of other things besides the title in this tale of time travel and romance.  I found her to be a sensible and likable character; a fair skinned beauty who makes the same mistake most  high school girls make by underestimating herself. She’s observant and thoughtful, and these qualities resonated with me.

The Eden Project
The Eden Project

 

I looked at his eyes: brown. Not muddy brown or coffee brown or dirty brown. His eyes were all-the-colors-of-autumn-leaves brown. They were the most beautiful eyes I had ever looked at, and they were looking at me with amusement.

Ryan, the male MC, is our boy from the future and I’m not gonna lie; I have a crush on him. Helen Douglas describes his breezy good looks and charm in a way that evoked memories of my high school crush (one of the many). I enjoyed Ry’s interactions with Eden and was frustrated that this first book (in what I’m assuming is a trilogy/series from its Goodreads page) didn’t contain more one-on-one action between these high school hotties.

Bella and Edward

Do me. “How old are you?”

I have a problem with comparing things to Twilight. This is no exception.

Eden pieces together clues about Ryan in Twilight-esque fashion until she figures him out.  Eden confronts Ryan like Bella confronts Edward, but instead of asking How old are you?, she asks When are you from?

Eden: You’ve already left school. No wonder you keep getting top marks in all of your English assignments.

Ryan: Brilliant. I tell you I’m from the future and you’re annoyed that I’m better than you at English.

This story has elements that reminded me of All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, but it’s written like one of those long short stories you find in Vogue or Cosmo. After Eden left me wanting more, so that’s a compliment to the author. It was a fun and interesting idea that would have been served well by a hundred extra pages. To make a long story short,  Helen Douglas impressed me with what she presented .  Her writing style is clear and concise without any flowery words or cluttered sentences. There were some thoughts and emotions conveyed by Ryan and Eden in this story that struck a chord with me despite their simplicity:

Falling in love had changed everything. […] My old life seemed like a whisper in the face of a roar. I couldn’t live my old life anymore. I picked up the pieces and shoved them back in the box.

This story has great fan fiction possibilities and I’m tempted to write some. Helen Douglas did her characters justice within the 279 pages of this novel. I got a strong sense of their personalities and backgrounds and what each character’s motivations were. The true antagonist cleverly remains elusive until near the end of this book and adds an exciting twist to the plot. I would rec’ this book to any Sci-Fi lover that needs a mental vacay. I’m eager to see how Helen will continue Eden and Ryan’s story.

I like this cover better.
I like this cover better.

 

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star